There is A Time for Pain, it hurts and it can take its toll on your body and your mind. It can affect everything in your life and to all those around you. Some will tolerate it while others abhor the feeling and just want to get rid of it. The message is clear. It lets you know you are very much alive.
How to deal with it? So many medicines available that makes finding the right choices difficult, especially for those who are in a long term relationship with their pain. Let’s explore pain and the choices we are given. For those of us who are a little older, pain is different from that of a 20 something. Our tolerances differ and once you hit the threshold, something has to give.
Defining Pain – Real or Imagined
Pain (L., poena, punishment) an unpleasant sensation caused by noxious stimulation of the sensory nerve endings.
It can be subjective as a feeling and an individual response to a direct cause of pain. For those whom have had a limb amputated, some pains may be considered as phantom pains. The feeling of pain in a limb that is no longer there can be real and originating from the spinal cord and brain. This does not mean they are not real!.
Prick a needle on your fingertip and you will feel pain. Get an ugly burn or even a roaring earth-shattering toothache, and you will feel pain. The type that will take over your life and control all that you do and think, until some sort of relief can be acquired or applied. Pain comes in so many forms and depending on the individual, can be blocked out by using several techniques of breathing and mental attitude. This becomes more apparent for those who deal with longer term pains and prefer to avoid options such as aspirin, ibuprofen and opioids.
The Prescription – I’m The Doctor
You’re in pain so you go to the doctor, get a script and get some pills. Easy as pie. At least just a short time ago this was the scenario. Now, the population is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. The media bombards you every day with reports from the White House Administration, state governments, local leaders, churches, etc…
When you are in your sixties, pains are not as much acute as they used to be and you may be finding yourself in a love/hate relationship with it. You hate the pain, but love the relief prescribed. Long term is not a nice place to be when it comes to a time for pain, yet, here you are. Is it arthritis, hip replacement, spinal injury, chronic back aches? There’s a pain for everyone and it comes in all sized and styles. You do not get to choose.
Take the pills (Oxycontin, Tramadol, Vicodin, etc…) and gain the mobility back so you can go on. Ooops, you’ve run out and now you need more. Back to the doctor for more, and then you are told no!
But doc, I’m in pain and in need of relief. Listen to your doctor! Most likely you will be told that there are other ways of dealing with the pains you are experiencing and it is time to tone it down. Those of you that are smart will listen to his/her recommendations and those of you that don’t, a few pills borrowed from a friend, or a good supply of booze ought to do the trick. Welcome to step 1, the beginning of the addiction process.
Currently there are some efforts by either individuals or by government leaders, to find solutions and begin to curb the epidemic. One such suggestion is for doctors to go ahead and continue prescribing in moderation, but also require them to increase the monitoring of patients with regard to the effects and their usage.
By The Numbers – 3 Does Not Equal 10
The United States is considered to be the largest body of opioid consumers in the world (30%) setting the stage for high addictions rates, deaths from overdoses and mental health issues. For those that self medicate, long term use can lead to a declined state of cognitive functions. Courtesy of Nora Volkow M D.
Recent research shows that even though medical providers are now more restricted, many prescriptions are going unfilled, unused or depending on the procedure that was done, a request for more.
A mere 10% of those prescriptions were disposed of and many are still sitting on a shelf in a medicine cabinet, perhaps for a future use.
The number of prescriptions being doled out by the medical profession for opioids seems to be on the decrease due to more government regulations in trying to combat the out of control epidemic. When it comes to sexagenarians and a time for pain, yes, the numbers are lower, however, the numbers when looking at death rates, longer hospital stays and treatments for mental health in relationship to opioid usage, one see’s a huge surge. Upwards of 5.6 to 8 million adults are estimated to be affected by opioids resulting in mental health and substance abuse disorders.
If you are interested in seeing the number of deaths from overdoses for the 55+ group, click on this link and see a breakdown by states regarding this epidemic. But it is not all about death rates when dealing with opioids. As one ages, pain becomes a more prominent part of life and these pains are real. It hurts to be alive and that’s just plain facts. Ask any senior.
The Pain Is Real – Not Just In Your Head
What causes pain? The answers most likely that you will hear as you reach those mature sexagenarian ages will run like a long shopping list but with certain pains such as arthritis, gout, degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, hip, knees, etc…. appearing at or near the top of those lists. Yes you get the idea.
We all have various tolerance levels and reactions when pain comes around and to those that it affects the most, finding relief begins to come to the forefront of the mind. Finding relief can also have its own list. What to take for what pains? How much relief do I need? So many questions and so many regulated choices. Make an appointment, borrow some pills, by them on the street…all realities when dealing with such a problematic subject.
When it comes to having adverse effects, the older generations seem to be taking a beating on various fronts. Too many medications? Possibly! Just bad reactions? There again you would get the same answer. Studies have shown as much as 32% increase for the older population with regard to E.R. visits due to overdoses of opioids and pain relievers, but not necessarily resulting in deaths.
New medications are being produced in large amounts with approximately 2500 new & experimental drugs being put into the pipeline. Of these, around 45 new drugs are approved per year with a projection of this process being repeated for the next 5 years. Newer methods, stronger, more refined for specific usage (pain source targeted). At the same time, health officials from the governments want lesser numbers. Weaker dosages, higher costs, fewer choices.
Do you remember why you took that medication? Here is some information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA) for you to look at when it comes to a breakdown of numbers related to pain.
Pain Management – What Are The Choices
Whether you are the one in pain, or maybe an elderly parent, at these stages in life, pain becomes more tricky to treat as we become more sensitive to many sources of the pain.
Pain from cancer is different from that of knee or hip pain and when it comes to a time for pain, the gentlest forms of treatment seem the most appropriate.
With aging, metabolization becomes a big factor in how we can spell relief. Diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, all take on their own tale to achieve the same results being sought.
Perhaps your doctor will recommend that you see a specialist in the field of pain management. They can offer a wide variety of choices and your health insurance is more than likely to cover it. Some of these solutions can be in the form of scripted or non-scripted medications to help alleviate the discomfort.
Simple measures can also give relief in the forms of exercise (yoga, walking), messages, physical therapy and even cognitive behavioral therapy. Acupuncture and chiropractic are also 2 very good avenues in getting your body back to its natural self of feeling good. When it comes to the manipulation of the skeletal or even the muscles, one does experience soreness, but it is a good pain in this case as the body is being re-centered.
Holistic medicine takes aim at treating the entire body, targeting the source of the pain and treating it without masking by not using forms of opioids or other pain masking medications. Some treatments may be as simple as taking a vitamin or a supplement on a daily regimen to give comfort from pain.
Education on lifestyle changes and self care for wellness can give great comfort when it comes to pain management. Even dropping a couple of pounds in weight can have a great affect on the body and your back.
Don’t rule out natural methods of dealing with pain. Nature has been very kind to its people and provides many avenues of ways to deal with healing. Click the following link find more information on some natural herbs that have shown good results in reducing pain.
Also in the area of natural remedies are some essential oils that can give much-needed relief in the areas of acute and chronic pains, headaches, neuropathy, and various muscle tensions. These are powerful medicines from nature and one should do their research to get more acquainted with this natural form of pain relief.
Depending on your source of pain, these oils can be applied directly to the specific area or as many others find, applying it to the bottoms of your feet can give needed relief to the entire body. Why the bottom of your feet? Pores, simply put, there are many pores in those puppies and getting relief can be sped up by being put into the blood stream faster.
How fast? That depends on you, your condition and what you are using. Personally, I am a user of essential oils for chronic pain and can get relief in as fast as 20 seconds. For another condition, the prescribed medication can take 10 to 15 minutes to take affect while a simple essential oil takes as little as 3 seconds to provide relief. That is a life saving moment for some of us.
The Pain Is Yours – It Doesn’t Have To Be!
Seek the professional help you need for what pains you. Whether it is acute, chronic, or the pain from medications you were prescribed as a result of usage or overdose. It is an epidemic (opioids) and too many are suffering because of it. Too many are dying and not enough can be done fast enough to ensure not another person has to go through hell because of pain.
Please feel free to share your thoughts about pain/management by giving us your comments. In the mean time, God’s speed and be pain free.
Thank you and that’s my show,